We went to Zone Conference and it was incredible. President Oliveira talked about hunger for the help of the Lord, and how we have to have that more so than the hunger we have when we come in for lunch or when it is time to sleep after the end of a long day. I was blessed enough to experience that hunger during the conference and some other times since then, putting my will into the Lords, and trying to find out what His will is at every moment, and not just teaching off of what is practicle or using the scriptures that you always use. Also we talked about resolving peoples doubts through the book of Mormon. We practiced and when we got back, applied them and litterally changed lives through the Book of Mormon. That Book is incredible. Also, on an unimportant note, the food at zone conference was some of the best I have had in my entire life. Just because it is Africa doesn´t mean you have to starve. :) Really though. That food was incredible. Literally.
We had a bunch of investigators in church too, and we finally got a bunch of callings. We have a
lot of people preparing for baptism. We have been working with Joaquina and her family for 12 weeks,
and Joaquina is finally starting to progress, but her kids arent. We got Valdisia (the oldest of the 4, 18
years old) to come to church and she made a few friends, and said that she would come to church
again, but hesitantly, and still won´t do anything else. We had a lesson with them on Sunday. It
started out with Valdiesia and Joaquina but Valdesia was doing homework, and we were trying super
hard to be led by the Spirit and not just teach, and so lots of times throguout I would stop and do
something different that what seemed like the normal thing to do. Man the sprit is incredible. Then
part way through we wen´t to D&C 18 where Christ is talking about how He suffered all if we would
repent, and Joaquina moved accross the room be be closer, and tried to find the scripture in her
Book of Mormon, and Valdisia kept trying to focus on her homework, but couldn´t, and finally gave
up and paid full attention. The spirit was super strong, and then fabio walked in and he had no idea
what we said but he felt something super strong and sat there silent listening, then after a minute
Eliana the youngest (9) came in and started feeling the spirit super strong, and we bore powerful
testimony, and then in the end invited them to be baptized as a family on the 1st of March, and
they all accepted, and only Joaquina would accept before. After we asked them to pray and study
the scriptures, and they said they would, especially Valdesia. We had started the lesson asking
her how the Book of Mormon would directly make her happy, and at the end, she had this light that
had come into her, and it was the first time that I really belived her when she said she would read the
book of mormon and pray and do these things right. She looked me straight in the eye, and responded
with confidence unlike before. The only one that wasn´t there was Eliane, but she is the one that likes
us and the church the most of all the kids, so I am sure that she will come along too! It was a great
miricle showed to me from the Lord.
We were also teaching this guy named Americo, and he is super prepared. He has been searching
for a long time, and keeps moving churches, is alread on a quit smoking calendar, and knows that
all the commandments are commandments, he just needed a thing "to push him into aciving all of it".
We gave him the answer, baptism. The lesson was super sweet. We had talked to him a few times
before and all had been super awesome, and it was going great. In the middle of the lesson this drunk
guy walked up and was like, I need to talk to you tomorrow. And we were like, well, howzabout tuesday,
you are drunk as well. So he left, and then Americo started talking about how this guy did some bad
stuff and and whatever, and the spirit was like, Go Talk to Him, so the three of us (Me, Elder Andrade,
and Americo) went and followed him and found him, and sat down with him. His life is a wreck. We
found out that he was baptized 10 years ago, and has been inactive for most of that time. We had
actually talked to him one other time since then, but didn´t really have a way to work with him because
he lives far away, and we were closed to the spirit when we first talked to him or maybe it just wasn´t
the Lords time for him. We talked to him about repentance, and he said a super sencere prayer and
it was fantastic. He told the Lord about how his life was going and asked for help. It was his first
prayer in 6 years. He didn´t even remember how to do it at the beginning. Man. Miricles Everywhere.
I am so blessed but don´t deserve these blessings. It is all Him. I have done nothing but try to follow,
and He has blessed me emensiely.
Also, one of our less actives, José who is trying to quit smoking and return after 4 years came to
church and is making super progress, and his prayers for help from God are so incredible and sincere.
I love him, and the Church is True.
Yeah, So Denise:
Denise was supposed to be baptized last week after a super strong lesson, and then that night she
called us and said that she wasn´t getting baptized this week, and we should wait for the next week
(which was this last weekend). We couldn´t do anything about that because we got the text after
we already had to go home, and then the next morning we went to Porto Novo for a day, then São
Vicente the next day (saturday). At the beginning of the week Denise was planning on saturday. She
showed up at her interview with one of the APs, Elder Otterstom from Provo who was visiting us, and
knew all the answers, was living all the commandments, and stuff, but didn´t feel that she had gotten
an answer from God and so she couldn´t be baptized if she wasn´t doing it because she knew from
God that she could (baptism for the right reasons). She was in the interview for an hour with the AP
talking about how she would be ready and stuff, and then we left her that night to pray and still be
baptized the next day. We had faith that the Lord would answer her prayers and that He had already
prepared her to be baptized. The baptism on saturday was set for 4:00 and we had an appointment
at 12:00 to make sure that everything was good. We showed up, Me, Elder Otterstrom, and my Mini,
Elder Andrade who is super sweet. We started talking to her, and always she is super hard to talk to.
She is 22, and is super smart, and loves the book of mormon and all this stuff, but she won´t say
much, not because she is shy, but because she conciously chooses not to. She speakes perfect
portuguese but choses to always speak in creole. We started talking and she said she hadn´t gotten
an answer, and so we started trying to figure out what was up, but she wasn´t getting us anywhere,
so we were wholely relying on the Lord to reveal to us what she needed. We were slowly making
progress, and we stayed in the same room talking for 2 hours and 45 mins, trying to reslove her
doubts. The spirit was very strong. We asked like 30 or 40 inspired questions, went through like
another 30 or 40 scriptures all talking about these things trying to figure out what she needed. By
the end she was starting to take stuff in, and we were making progress. Her Aunt who was baptized
2 weeks ago, Ana, was sitting there patiently the whole time too. She finally said that she would
be baptized in at this point was in 75 mins, and then we asked her to say the closing prayer, and
she said no. Well, if they can´t pray, they can´t be baptized because they have to show to the Lord
their will do do what is right. We were maybe going to lose all that we had worked for for the whole
2 hours 45 mins, but we trusted in the Lord, not to give in on prayer, and moved foreward with Faith.
We didn´t know what was keeping her from prayer, and therein, baptism, but she wouldn´t pray.
Elder Otterstrom pulled out the last scripture about baptizing those who show the fruits of repentance
in 3rd Nephi, and she agreed to pray, and then we left with about an hour left before the baptism.
Hahahaha. It´s Not Over Yet.
So we ate really fast, the past all the people that were going to the baptism and all got together
in the point to wait for the car to take us the 20 drive to the baptism. Ana (the aunt) called and
said that her and denise would meet us there at the point. We were just waiting on them two and
Cely, so Me, Elder Otterstrom and Elder Andrade went with the people we already had and Elder
Naylor, and his mini, Elder Duca, stayed to wait. He called Denise to ask if they had already left
their house, and she told him she wasn´t being baptized. Crap. He called me, who was waiting
with all the members who had paid a lot and traveled an hour or so to be there, and so now they
had all come out for no baptism. Crap. I started organizing everyone together to say a prayer for
Denise, while Elder Naylor was on the way to her house. He showed up and she was sitting there
and wouldn´t talk to anyone and wouldn´t even recognize the Missionaries. She looked super sad
Elder Naylor said. He called me again, and so we started getting everyone together to pray for her,
and then do a training. We knew that she could still technically be baptized but it was like 30 mins
after 4:00, and so we were going to pray for her.
A few mins later I got a call from Ana´s phone and it was Denise, asking if she could still be baptized today. (Ana had been working with her because someone else had come in after we left the long lesson and threw some doubts at her and Ana had solved them and so had prayer) We said yes, Said a prayer of thanksgiving together and then I called Elder Naylor who was super confused but happy, and he went and got Her and Ana and Cely, and they showed up to the baptism, and Denise was baptized.
The Lord deffinately knows what needs to happen. During the lesson, during the waiting times,
and everything, we had Faith that The Lord could make these miricles happen. He put words
into our mouths, scriptures into our minds, led us to pray with hunger, and to act in acordance
with the knowledge He had given us that Denise could be baptized. He sent His Holy Spirit to
testify to Denise and to help Ana help her, and in the end, His will was brought to past.
People say that with God, or with Faith, Nothing is impossible. Most people don´t believe that
though. Every single thing that The Lord wants can be brought to past according to our faith in
His will and His word. If His servants can continue on with faith through adversity, He will show
His miricles. I did nothing, but as His servant I am eternally grateful to have been able to have
His will and miricles worked according to my Faith. It was not me that did anything, but entirely
was the Lord. I was just lucky enough to be a tool in His hands.
I know that this Church is true, and that Christ Lives and Guides His Church Today. That the
Book of Mormon is the most powerful Book ever writen and that the Lord hears and answers
the prayers of the Faithful.